Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rubio's Ultimatum

With Trump gone in the most recent Republican debate in Iowa, candidates were able to have a better discussion about the pressing issues in America today. Like the majority of political rhetoric, logical fallacies were used throughout the debate. At one point, republican candidate Cruz mentioned ad hominem attacks. In addition, Candidate Rubio was one of many that utilized logical fallacies in an attempt to further his argument. While Rubio used various forms of logical fallacies, one that stood out was the either/or fallacy.

Throughout the debate, Rubio seemed to bring every question directed at him back to the destruction of ISIS and conflicts between the US and Muslim countries. It is here where Rubio began to use the either/or fallacy. Responding to a question about the Iran deal, Rubio stated, “The Iranian leader, the supreme leader...has an apocalyptic vision of the future...They have a desire not simply to conquer the Middle East and be the dominant power in that region, but ultimately to be able to hold America hostage...nations will have to make a choice, they can do business with Iran, or they can do business in America.” In his response to the question, Rubio gives a clear ultimatum, either to side with America or Iran. He also seems to imply through his earlier comments that America is the bastion of freedom, and Iran is a veritable threat to this freedom. This is clearly an either/or fallacy because Rubio is telling nations they either stand with America or Iran.
 (Begins at 46:30)

As evidenced by the applause that Rubio received, his use of this logical fallacy in his argument was clearly effective. In using this logical fallacy, Rubio was able to convey his strong stance against Iran. At the same time he demonstrated how America is a great country by saying America is the right choice in addition to attacking Iran with statements that the Iranian government, “has an apocalyptic vision of the future.” Thus, Rubio’s use of the either/or fallacy is successful in that it promulgates his strong stance on the issue and is what listeners to the debate wanted to hear.


  1. Since everyone is so focused on Trump, it seems they have missed the more surreptitious fear-mongering that other candidates are doing. You could also say this argument is an example of ad populum, because he's appealing to the patriotic values of Americans.

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  3. I think your argument was articulated very well. I also agree that Rubio does compare extremes in his attempt to appeal to his audience to stand with America (particularly with him if he becomes president).